The spiritual daring of the movie blew my socks off. Apparently it blew Weir's socks off too because his subsequent movies ("The Year of Living Dangerously," "The Truman Show," "Witness" et al) while containing mystical/magical elements, bent a knee to Hollywood and the need to put spaghetti on the table. Still, "The Last Wave" is a benchmark in my memory. Who knows if it would stand up to rewatching today?... about a white solicitor in Sydney whose seemingly normal life is disrupted after he takes on a murder case and discovers that he shares a strange, mystical connection with the small group of local Australian Aborigines accused of the crime.
Like a child reaching out to touch the horizon, "The Last Wave" acknowledged the child in all of us. It was intelligent and unapologetic. It was no joke. It eluded the smarm that might have been brought to bear in other directorial hands. It was serious rather than solemn. Children fall down and skin their knees. There is literal blood on the tapestry of this childhood.
I guess I find myself casting back to "The Last Wave" because "In the Heart of the Sea" made it into movie theaters this weekend. A Variety review seemed to sum up the luke-warm reception it got when the magazine described the movie as "a pedestrian retelling of a harrowing real-life survival story that served as one of the key inspirations for “Moby-Dick.”"
I had wanted to want to see the movie. Now I don't. Big and brash and bold and sweeping ... or maybe just disastrous ... these are coupons on the cereal boxes. Balls are a different matter.